Frosty mornings in Northern Minnesota, frozen sloughs, and small lakes with skim ice are all symptoms an incurable sickness known as ice fever. Like a drake wood duck coming out of its eclipse plumage during the fall, these visual cues are as enticing to an ice angler as a hen wood duck.
The rush begins. Portable ice houses come out of the garage to air out; anglers take their permanent shacks out of storage to put “fall air” in the tires. Following the trends seen at the latest modification get-together, we tinker until the early hours of the morning installing new LED lighting, or the new must have gadget. The frequent trips to the tackle shop begin, drooling over that new hammered gold holie angel that just came out, or those purple minnow-glow ju-jus. You get into a debate while standing in line at the store about which flasher is better and why. Some anglers are so affected by the fever that they even “practice” with their new jigs and lures in a 5-gallon pail when they get home.